This comet stuffed inside a meteorite is the ultimate cosmic turducken

Popular Science | 4/19/2019 | Staff
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The story of how LaPaz came into being is really a story of how the solar system came into being—and that’s what makes the findings so interesting. A huge disk of gas and dust began whirling around the sun 4.6 billion years ago. Some of the material coalesced into the rocky planets we know and love, but a lot more of it aggregated into smaller chunks: asteroids and comets. Comets are smaller, icier bodies with more ancient origin stories, while asteroids tend to be much larger and composed of rocky materials from more recent times (relatively speaking).

“We think that the comet-like inclusion formed much farther from the sun than the parent asteroid of LaPaz Icefield 02342, and for some reason got transported further inward in the disk where it was captured by the asteroid as it grew,” says Larry Nittler, a researcher from the Carnegie Institution of Washington and a coauthor of the new study. While it’s not clear if the inner clast was every fully incorporated into a comet or simply a remnant of original comet building blocks, it eventually landed on an asteroid, and over time became encased within. The LaPaz meteorite is a piece of that larger asteroid that broke off and slammed into Earth, while still retaining those comet minerals.

Minerals - System - Infancy - Stroud - Material

Those comet minerals are key to learning more about the solar system in its infancy. Stroud explains that material from even the most primitive asteroids is typically found “cooked” (exposed to high temperatures), “soaked” (hydrated), or both, distorting our ability to use these rocks to peer into the past. But comets, she says, “provide cold storage to preserve the most fragile building blocks of the solar system.” In this case,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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